SPS 222: How to Host a Killer Book Launch Party with Nick Gray

Posted on Aug 9, 2023

Avatar Of Chandler Bolt

Written by Chandler Bolt

Home > Blog > Podcast > SPS 222: How to Host a Killer Book Launch Party with Nick Gray

Launching a book is an exciting milestone for any author. But simply publishing your book is not enough – you need to generate buzz and drive book sales at launch to gain momentum. One of the most effective ways to do this is by hosting a book launch party.

I had the chance to speak with Nick Gray, author of “The Two Hour Cocktail Party” and expert event host. He shared his best tips on how to throw a killer book launch party that gets people excited about your book.

Set a Date at Least 3 Weeks Out

First things first – pick a date for your party and get it on people’s calendars. Nick recommends choosing a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night when there’s less social competition. Give attendees at least 3 weeks advance notice so they can plan ahead.

Start by confirming with 5 core supporters before opening up invites more broadly. Once you have those key people committed, send invites to a wider list of friends, fans and contacts.

Collect RSVPs

Do not just send a general invite and hope people show up. Collect RSVPs to get definitive yes/no/maybe responses. You want at least 15 confirmed guests as a baseline to make the party feel energetic.

Send Reminder Messages

Keep your party top of mind by sending reminder messages:

  • 1 week before – build excitement, share date/time/location
  • 3 days before – highlight who is coming, share rough agenda
  • Day of – remind people, share parking/directions

This shows you’re taking the event seriously and keeps people engaged.

Minimize Q&A, Maximize Mingling

While you’ll want to share a bit about your book, don’t monopolize the time. Nick cautions against lengthy Q&A sessions – keep your speaking time focused and brief.

The real goal is to give people a lively social atmosphere to mingle and connect. Position your book launch party as a catalyst for fun networking amongst your guests.

Take Photos with Your Book

Stage photo moments with your book to capture social proof. Nick has people take out their phones and take pictures of him posing with his book. This provides shareable content for your launch.

You can also autograph books and take photos with attendees. Photos showing real people engaging with the book make powerful promotional assets.

Sell Books On Site

Use your book launch party to sell real copies of your book. Nick printed his book info and Amazon link on name badges. He also brought copies to sell and sign on site.

While some sales will happen before the party, you can net incremental sales by making the book easy to purchase in person.

Hire a Photographer

Professional photos establish credibility and supply marketing collateral. Be sure to agree the photographer will edit and deliver at least 10 top shots within 24 hours of your event for sharing online.

First Party Isn’t the Only Party

Nick advises against limiting launch activities to one party. Look for opportunities to host more events related to your book over time.

When traveling, set up impromptu book tour events. Attending a conference? Organize a book signing or cocktail meetup. Holiday trip home? Invite old friends to a book club.

The launch period does not end after your first event. Look for creative ways to gather people around your book. Each event reaches new people and reminds existing fans.

Start with “Warm-Up” Parties

Throwing your very first event as a book launch is risky. Nick suggests hosting smaller “warm-up” parties in the months prior to hone your hosting chops and build a list.

Use low-stakes happy hours or other casual gatherings to practice your event facilitation. Testing things out reduces the pressure for your marquee book launch.

Plus, when invites go out for your book launch party, those who attended your warm-ups will be more likely to attend and spread the word.

Always Carry Your Book

Nick takes his book everywhere as a conversation starter. You never know when an opportunity to share your book will arise, so keep copies handy.

Wearing book swag or other “What’s that?” items also can spark interesting interactions. Remove any barriers to proudly discussing and showing off your book in public.

The Right Mindset For Launch Success

A book launch party is not a one-day event, but rather a process that unfolds over time. Avoid putting too much pressure on a single party being perfect.

Instead, focus on frequently creating opportunities to share and talk about your book with new people. Be shameless in promoting yourself as an author and your book as a tool to build relationships.

Approach your launch with an abundance mentality. The more you actively put your book out into the world, the more rewards you will reap.

Hosting an amazing book launch party takes effort and organization. But the high touch experience of gathering real humans to celebrate your accomplishment can propel word-of-mouth buzz and sales. Use these tips from expert Nick Gray to throw a lively, memorable bash that launches your book in style.

Schedule Your Free One Hour Book Strategy Session

Links and Resources

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Get your free audiobook and ebook copy of:

Published: The proven path from blank page to 10,000 copies sold 

Liked this post? Share it with friends!

Interested in working with us?

Book a free strategy call with our expert team!